A LONG WAY FROM HOME
30-03-2008 BBC Radio 3 Drama on 3
Marvin Gaye was an iconic musician who found a new kind of fame in death when he was murdered by his own father. Caryl Phillips's drama imagines the conflicting forces in Gaye's life that formed him and failed him. The story focuses on the final years when he was offered a lifeline in the unlikely setting of Belgium's Ostend where he would compose Sexual Healing.
At his creative best, Marvin Gaye wrote songs that revealed his personal sensitivities and yet as a performer and a star he was happy to strut around like a macho love machine, conforming to sexual and racial stereotypes. Caryl Phillips's play opens in London, where Gaye is living a seedy, drug-fuelled life in a hotel room. He doesn't know if it's night or day, and he doesn't care. His music has dried up and he can't even go back home to the States because he's wanted by the taxman and an ex-wife. But, as the story develops and he starts afresh with a naive promoter in Ostend, the effect of his father's lifelong rejection of him becomes clear: Gaye has no place that he feels is his home and so he crashes from country to country, looking for a safe place to stay.
A special mention should go to Kerry Shale who plays both Marvin's twisted father and his devoted Belgian promoter- a remarkable example of vocal talent and character interpretation
Drama On 3 –
A Long Way From Home By Caryl Phillips
Sunday 30 March
8.00-9.30pm BBC RADIO 3
Sexual Healing comes to BBC Radio 3 in a play by Caryl Phillips. Marvin Gaye's ground-breaking album, What's Going On, redefined African-American music, and A Long Way From Home offers a moving and vibrant re-imagining of what went on behind the music.
Marvin Gaye, feted for his hit recordings including I Heard It Through The Grapevine and the socially vital What's Going On, was living in London at a low ebb in his life, fleeing tax problems in America and chasing drugs, when he was offered an unexpected lifeline – a chance to rebuild himself and his career in Ostend, Belgium. There, his artistry began to return to him, and this surge of renewed success would take him home to Los Angeles and his eventual death at the hands of his father.
A Long Way From Home imagines the forces at play in Gaye's life, from the influence of a preacher father who wore women's clothes, to the love, sex, drugs and bitter disappointment that accompanied some of the most enduring music of the 20th century.
Marvin Gaye is played by O-T Fagbenle and Marvin Gay Senior (Gay was the correct spelling of the surname) by Kerry Shale.
Caryl Phillips is the author of numerous novels including the Booker Prize-shortlisted Crossing The River and three books of non-fiction, including A New World Order (2001), which contains his revealing essay on the final years of Marvin Gaye's life. Director Ned Chaillet previously worked with Phillips on Hotel Cristobel.
February 24, 2019 Subject:
A Great Radio Play
This is an acting tour de force. I suspect this story is fairly accurate. No one thinks their father is anything but their Dad. Everyone want's Dad's approval, love, support and RESPECT as a man to a man.
I am an orphan, though I got to know my father in the last 3 years of his life. As hard as I tried to be a good son and earn his approval and/or love, I don't think this ever happened. Everyone says, "look at me daddy!" And sometimes daddy does not look, —does not care. I have no answers except pain. It hurts as bad as an arrow through you. I'd have rather taken a bullet from my dad than his affable indifference. This drama struck close to home. That my father was not insane, but a very likable, affable and handsome man changes nothing. Daddy is daddy.
Everyone wants their Dad.